Saturday, October 29, 2016

Licorice and Strawberries

One of the recent Connecting Threads catalogues that arrived at my door had a quilt featured that called my name-Licorice and Strawberries.  It will finish at about 53" x 63" becoming a delightful cuddle quilt, picnic quilt, or "just because" quilt. There was a sale on at the time, and with the exchange and shipping, the kit still arrived at a very reasonable price. 

After starting some of the blocks, I can already see that there will be a fair bit of fabric left over, so a few mini-quilts may be on the horizon. The instructions are very easy to follow. You can see the kit HERE and I see there is still 30% off at this time of writing.  

I had a wonderful time last weekend at a quilt retreat hosted by the Baddeck Quilters and held at the Gaelic College in St. Anne's, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  You can't beat that stone fireplace in MacKenzie Hall on a brisk Fall day!

I attended the retreat with 2 of my quilt friends from town. What a great time we had sewing, eating, and relaxing with about 30 others. The workshop we took was presented by Bill Locke of Montreal who did a terrific job of guiding 14 of us through his paper-pieced pattern called Once Upon a Christmas. 

Of course, I shook mine up a bit by using a delightful polkadot bundle called Gardenvale by Jen Kingwell Designs for Moda.  Who said trees have to be green? 

We're having a rainy day today so I have lots to play with in my sewing room. It's a great day to quilt!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Baskets Galore

Several years ago, I decided to do a basket block exchange with my long-distance blog friend, Sandie, who blogs at Sandra Kaye Designs. You can read and see a few of the blocks HERE. Sandie was the first person to comment on my very first blog post HERE in September of 2011, a little over five years ago.  

Sandie and I quickly decided to do a basket block exchange.  For seven months, we made 10 blocks a month and swapped five of them with each other. At the time, Sandie lived in Arizona, so these little blocks travelled all the way from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to Arizona. The blocks are pretty tiny, at 4.5" unfinished, and I very quickly realized Sandie was an expert in making these little blocks. Each batch from Sandie was perfect.  I, on the other hand, struggled with seam allowance, cutting off tip after tip. But I persevered, believing that when the quilt was a finish, perhaps the missing tips wouldn't seem as noticeable? Fast forward to last week when I pulled out the 70 little blocks and decided to sew them together into a cuddle quilt just for me.  

It is a small quilt, about 42" x 52",  but I have already tested it out. I am always under a quilt watching TV, no matter what the season, either sitting in my quilting chair or lying on the couch, and this works really well!

Many of my blocks were made of civil war reproduction-style fabrics, while Sandie added most of those wonderful splashes of colour. I ended up using a soft brown for the alternate blocks to give the quilt a bit of a vintage look.

Baskets Galore was fairly quick to put together.  After all, the baskets were made years ago!

I started by joining the baskets with the brown squares, but ended up unsewing a few blocks as my rows, set on the diagonal, were actually made up of odd numbers.

Because I don't have a design wall, and the floor is just so far away, I literally grabbed and sewed, not worrying too much about the colour placement of each little basket.

Again, because of space issues, I had to lay out and sew half of the quilt together at a time! 

Once I had everything together, the quilting seemed to go even faster. I used straight-line machine quilting, marking some lines with my Hera marker, and then I just did it by eye. Not perfect, but either am I!

I love my little quilt, and thank you so much to Sandie for suggesting this so many years ago! 

Another thank you to my Nova Scotian blog friend Sheila who blogs at Sheila's Quilt World. 

This beautiful postcard arrived for my birthday last week. Her work is amazing and I am thrilled to have her fabric art depicting Peggy's Cove. Thank you, Sheila!

It's a great day for quilting!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Quilt Too Big To Show

My latest finish is just too big to show it all.

It finishes at 94" x 94" but the weather has not cooperated to hang it on the clothesline for a picture and our little house is just too little to lay it out on the floor. With the change in seasons, the sun shines in the backyard very late in the afternoon and it becomes more difficult to take a picture showing the true colours. 

I did a bit of folding this morning and took a few pics on the front porch but the true colours are still a little off. The white background is actually a tan in real life! 

The quilt is called Star Crossed and you can read about the designer, the pattern and my selection of fabrics HERE. I made it using a structured scrappy lay-out, but it really isn't obvious until you see the full quilt. Once the quilting is done, I'll try for a full layout picture somehow. 

The blocks are fairly large at 16" . Each one was a treat to make as I couldn't wait to see what the finished block looked like.

I didn't have a design wall so putting the blocks in a formation required a lot of piles on my dining room table, some time coloring the layout in my planner with pencil crayons, and painter's tape to label my rows.

The quilt will soon head to Sydney for quilting by Ange Ross at Quilting on the Mira. I know she will do her quilting magic...she always does! 

Now that my big project is history, I have turned to a few smaller projects, like these Christmas stockings that were mailed out West to my son and his fiance. They received them yesterday so I can now show the pictures. I found a couple of free patterns online for inspiration and adapted as needed to make my versions. I sewed lots of 2.5" squares of Christmas fabric together, machine quilted the fabric in a crosshatch design, and then cut out the stockings. For the cuffs, I used a font I liked, enlarged it, printed it out with sheets of Alex Anderson's printable Select Appli-Stick paper, (which I received free for renewing my membership with The Quilt Show), reversed the names and finished adhering the names by using the blanket stitch on my machine. I'm glad both their names are short!

Before I go, I want to thank Prym Consumer USA. I have used Dritz Printed Treasures Inkjet Printable Fabric to make labels, etc., for years with excellent results. 

However, my last package did not work as expected. The paper would not peel off as it should have and I wasn't able to use the sheets.  I decided to write a little note off to the company explaining my dilemma and before I knew it, I received a lovely note and a replacement package of their product with "Improved, Easier to Peel Backing". I love a happy ending! 

It's a great day for quilting!